Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/201

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first class of fine singers.' (Lord Mount-Edge- mbe.) Burney says that his voice was better a church or a theatre, where it could expand, in a room ; and continues, ' There was dig- ity in his appearance on the stage, and the tant the tone of his voice was heard no doubt ined with the audience that he was the rst singer. His style was grand, and truly ramatic, his execution neat and distinct, his te and embellishments new, select, and mas- rly, and his articulation so pure and well nted that, in his recitatives, no one conver- nt in the Italian language ever had occasion to look at the book of the words while he was singing. Rubinelli, from the fulness of his voice and greater simplicity of style, pleased a more considerable number of hearers than Pacchierotti, though none, perhaps, so exquisitely as that singer used to delight his real admirers. Rubi- nelli, finding himself censured on his first arrival in England, for changing and embellishing his airs, sang " Return, God of Hosts " in West- nster Abbey, in so plain and unadorned a ner, that even those who venerate Handel most thought him insipid.' After his season in London he returned to y, where he had enormous success at Vicenza d Verona, in 1791 and 1792, in 'La Morte de leopatra ' of Nasolini, and ' Agesilao ' of An- dreozzi. In 1800 he left the stage, and settled at Brescia, where he died in 1829.

The following lines, some of which are well known (suggested by the occasion of Carbonelli the violinist having relinquished the musical profession to become a wine merchant), bear witness to the powers and the popularity of "ubinelli. They are by the Rev. Dr. Wake, hose quaint spelling has been followed.

Lot Rubinelli charm the ear,

And sing as erst with voice divine, To Carboiielli I adhear,

Instead of musick, give me wine. And yet perhaps with wine combined,

Sweet musick would our joys improve, Let both together then be joined,

And feast we as the gods above. Anacreon-like I'll sit and quaff,

Old age and wrinkles 1 11 despise, Devout the present hours to laugh,

And learn to-morrow to be wise.


RUBINI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA, the most cele- ited of modern tenor singers, was born at ano, near Bergamo, on April 7, 1795. The of a professor of music, he learned the rudi- .ts of his art from his father, and at eight years could sing in church choirs and play the violin an orchestra. He was then placed as a pupil with Don Santo, a priest, organist at Adro, who wever soon sent him home again, saying that had no talent for singing. In spite of this, the ,ther persisted in teaching his unpromising son, " allowed him, at the age of twelve, to appear public at the Romano theatre in a woman's The boy was next engaged at Bergamo as chorus -singer, and to play violin solos in the entr'actes. It happened while he was here that in a new drama that was brought out, an air by



��Lamberli, of considerable difficulty, had to be introduced, for which it was not easy to find a singer. The song was finally entrusted to young Rubini, who acquitted himself with much applause, and was rewarded by the manager with a present of five francs. In after life he was fond of singing this song, in memory of his first triumph. His elation at the time must have been sadly damped just afterwards by the refusal of a Milan manager to engage him as chorus-singer, because of his insufficient voice.

After belonging for a time to a strolling com- pany, and making an unsuccessful attempt at a concert tour with a violinist called Madi, he got a small engagement at Pavia, then another at Brescia for the Carnival ; he next appeared at the San Mose theatre at Venice, and lastly at Naples, where the director, Barbaja (according to Escu- dier), engaged him to sing with Pellegrini and Nozzari, in two operas written for him by Fiora* vanti. (The name of one of these operas, ' Adelson e Salvina,' is identical with that of an early work of Bellini's produced about this time.) With the public Rubini was successful, but so little does Barbaja appear to have foreseen his future great- ness that he wished to part with him at the end of the first year's engagement, and only consented to retain his services at a reduced salary. Rubini preferred making some sacrifice to leaving Naples, where he was taking lessons of Nozzari, and he acceded to Barbaja's conditions, which very soon, however, had to be rescinded, owing to Rubini's brilliant successes at Rome (in ' La Gazza ladra ') and at Palermo. Some time in 1819 he married Mdlle. Chomel, known at Naples as La Comelli, a singer of some contemporary celebrity, a French- woman by birth, and pupil of the Paris Con- servatoire.

His first appearance at Paris was on October 6, 1825, in the ' Cenerentola,' and was followed by others in Otello ' and ' La Donna del Lago.* He was hailed unanimously as ' King of Tenors/ and began here the series of triumphs which lasted as long as his stage career. He was still bound by his engagement with Barbaja, who by this time had become aware of his worth, and only yielded him for six months to the Theatre Italien, claiming him back at the end of that time to sing at Naples, then at Milan, and at Vienna.

Up to this time his laurels had been won in Rossini's music, on which his style was first formed, and it was not till now that he found his real element, the vehicle most congenial to his special individuality, and thanks to which he was to reach the summit of his fame. Rubini was the foundation and raison d'etre of the whole phase of Italian opera that succeeded the Rossinian period. He and Bellini were said to have been born for one another, and in all probability Rubini was not more captivated by the tender, pathetic strains of Bellini, than the sensitive Bellini was influenced by Rubini's wonderful powers of expression. Such a singer is an actual source of inspiration to a composer, who hears his

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